Monthly Archives: March 2017


Warning: graphic content.

I haven’t had a running related injury in a long time. My secret – wearing the right shoes and staying diligent about proper stretching after every run. Triathlon training’s been surprisingly kind to me physically. While I’m working a lot of new muscle groups, they have ample time to recover between workouts. For the most part, my body has felt amazing.

But I’m pretty frustrated right now and actually, in a lot of pain. I’ve had to take the last few days off of training because my feet are very sick.

I visited the doctor last Wednesday and was diagnosed me with a severe case of athlete’s foot, a common fungal infection that can be contracted in pools or public showers. They gave me an oral anti-fungal and a steroid and said I should start to feel better in a day or so (she also told me I had to wear shower shoes for the rest of my life. Hilarious). Unfortunately, things haven’t gotten any better. In fact, they have been getting progressively worse.

There are pictures below. If you don’t like feet or don’t want to see them, don’t look. They’re pretty ugly.

The thing is, I could run. I ran 5 miles on Thursday. It hurts, but not that much more than walking. The problem is that the friction and pounding aggravate the skin. It would probably make things worse.

I could bike, but my bike shoes are very narrow, and don’t have a lot of spare room. With all the swelling, my feet won’t even fit into the shoes.

I could swim – no shoes, no pounding, and nice cool water – but I don’t wish this on my worse enemy. Assuming I picked this up at the pool from someone else, I don’t want to propagate this any further.

I’M SO FRUSTRATED. I have been SO GOOD with my training. I’ve seldom missed a workout – primarily because I’m terrified of this race and I want to be as well prepared as possible.

While all of this has been happening to me, my husband Dan has been sick with pneumonia (his story is here), and our water heater broke. Water in his lungs, water on our basement floor, and if you consider the fluid inside of blisters to be water, than I have water irritating my feet.

I love how Dan put it – “if you are a pray-er, please pray for healing and that if there is something here for me to see, learn, or notice, that i would.”

My perspective is usually pretty good and I can usually perceive if/when God wants me to learn something from an experience, but with this, so far, I’ve got nothing concrete (I’m also not asking for opinions).

I have a feeling it has something to do with patience and dependency.
Or yet another experience with the effects of contaminated water.

For now, I deeply appreciate your prayers. Before I was up to speak at the Team World Vision National Leader’s Gathering on Saturday, I texted Dan because I was in a lot of pain and starting to get anxious. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it or distract anyone’s attention away from the event, but I was desperate for prayer. So I asked Dan to reach out to some people privately. Within in minutes, my phone was blowing up with words of love and encouragement. If you were one of those people, I can’t appropriately expressed my gratitude. While I am obviously not healed, I did not think about my feet once while I was speaking. Not once. And I was dancing to “I Saw The Light” about an hour later. You made a difference. Thank you so much.

Please continue to pray for a fast(er) healing and clarity, if there is something more that I should take away from this. I plan to make an appointment with the dermatologist in the morning.

And PLEASE continue to pray for the children of Africa who are without clean water today, and how you can help this year.

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Quoted from “The Ability to Endure” by Michael Chitwood


There is always a temptation to turn our focus onto ourselves and wallow in our own problems. But that’s not me. I point you back to the unheard, unseen people in the margins. I share my stories with you, for them.

Click here to give:

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us.

Ok. Stop here if you don’t want to see pictures of my progressively worsening feet.


UPDATE: Monday, March 27th17436182_10155230688717835_7525843391272704437_o

I went in to the ER this morning. Got diagnosed with cellulitis and was prescribed some mega-dosages of 2 antibiotics. Glad we caught it. I guess it’s the kinda thing that can make you really sick. With all these medications, I feel more like a geriatric patient. I’m doing fine otherwise. Thank you for your prayers.

UPDATE: Monday night. Two friends have sent me this verse within the last hour. This is the kind of encouragement I needed.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭52:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 20th

It wasn’t athlete’s foot after all? What the heck?!



Base training complete!


This is my “YAY!!” pic.

My Ironman base training is complete!

Actually what I’ve been doing since the beginning of the year is more like the base training before the base training, necessary for non-triathletes, like myself. But I did it. I made it through my first 10 weeks, with 91/100 workouts complete since January 1!

The official training begins tomorrow.
Ever wondered what week one of Ironman training looks like?


It’s 9.5 hours total, which is about 1 hour and 50 mins more (for me) than week 15 of marathon training (week 15 is the most intense week of marathon training, which includes the 20 mile long run).


I just realized that the easiest week of Ironman training takes more time than the hardest week of marathon training.

Oh Lord, help me.raised

Fundraising is off to a solid start, too. $800, which will provide lasting clean water for 16 kids! My goal is 400, and I want to get to at least 200 by my birthday – April 7th. On that day, I’m going to tri to tie all three disciplines together for the first time and do a 39 mile triathlon – 1 mile swim, 28 mile bike ride, and 10 mile run. It’ll probably take me about 5 hours – which, even that, is more time than most of my marathons have taken.

[[ You’re invited! You can swim. You can ride. You can run – as much or as little as you want. Or you can just be there to watch it all go down. Doesn’t matter, as long as you’re there. People make these birthday runs great. RSVP here. ]]

26 weeks to go ’til Sept. 10th.
Ironman Madison. 2.4 mile swim. 112 mile bike. 26.2 mile run. Here we go.

Want to read more about my journey so far? Click here.

Don’t need to read more because you can see I clearly need help? 🙂  Click here.

61 years worth of water

When I visited Kenya for the first time in 2015, I learned about a woman named Mary. You can read her story here. She’s someone I think about often.

This morning, I found out that the pool I swim in at the White Bear Lake YMCA holds 334,000 gallons of water. So I started doing some math.


Photo cred: White Bear Area YMCA Facebook page

Mary’s family needs 15 gallons of water a day just to survive, so she walks a total of 18 miles every day to get it.

This means the water in that pool would be enough to provide water for Mary, her entire family of 9 and all their livestock for 61 years.

61 years! That’s the average life expectancy in Kenya.

Mind blown. The water that I SWIM in.

Not having to walk for water everyday would give Mary back 133,000 hours over her lifetime to do better things with her time, like play with her kids, get an education or start a business.

Because of the way that World Vision does development work – a holistic approach that is comprehensive, complex and sustainable – all these things are possible for Mary and MILLIONS of women like her.

That’s what you’re giving to when you support my Ironman efforts.

$50 gives sustainable access to one person. How many Mary’s can you provide total life change for today? Click here to give:

Got Fitted

This is a pretty boring post. Definitely not the most inspirational thing I’ve ever written. I’m just journaling the journey. So feel free to indulge yourself in my musings if you want, but I promise you, you won’t be missing much if you skip this one.

I finally got my bike (aka the bike that I’m borrowing from a friend) into the shop for a fitting today. After announcing my 39 mile birthday tri, I decided it would probably be good to figure out my bike issues before April 7th.

I got my ride in early this morning – 6am. I thought the plan called for 45 minutes today. Nope, 60. Not exactly the best time to discover that which would obviously cut into what I thought was a well thought out plan for the morning –  ride early, get the girls to school, get ready for the day, toss in a load of laundry, get my bike rack on and loaded up, and head out to my first meeting by 8am. Now I’ve lost 15 minutes to accomplish all of this. I’m already thinking cuss words and I’ve only been awake for 5 minutes.

“This is only an hour, Sinead. What are you gonna do in 4 weeks when your Wednesday workouts start to call for 75 minutes in the morning? or 90?” OH CRAP! I just now realized that this Saturday’s ride is my first 90 minute ride! GAH! Why does this seems to be increasing so fast?

So I scheduled an appointment at Gateway Cycle in Oakdale and met with their manager, Steven. Cool guy. Bike expert, shop manager and a rock n’ roll musician… of course he’s a musician. I learned a lot from him and got the necessary tweaks made. There were a lot of them.

  • The seat, I mean the saddle, needed to be raised and moved forward.
  • The handle bars were raised and the stem was shortened.
  • The arm rest paddy-thingeys on the aerobars were adjusted.
  • The cleats on my shoes were moved.
  • Tires needed air… ha! and the gear shift-thingee was adjusted so it would stop rubbing the chain and making a ton of noise.

Clearly, I need to learn some new vocabulary. But at the same time, ignorance is bliss.

I will also need to invest in a new saddle here soon. I’m currently riding on a men’s saddle which is very narrow and long, compared to a women’s model, and can be kinda painful. But for now, the adjustments that were made do feel better, and will probably help my efficiency and speed a little bit, too.

Today’s bill was $140. The new saddle will be $80. I still don’t have decent bike shorts. Thankfully I have this borrowed bike, because good road bikes start at around $1,000. Yow! This gal and her church planting hubby ain’t got time for that.

Some people wonder, why wouldn’t you just save that money and give it away – skip all the swimming, riding and running? It’s a valid question.

Here’s my simplest “its-after-10pm-and-I-need-to-go-bed” answer:

It’s sorta like Matthew 25:14-29. I guess I’m aiming for a “well done”. This is an investment – one that I hope will have a significant return for kids in Africa. I make the investment of time, money and energy, with a hope that somehow my example will inspire my friends and family to make some sort of investment as well – an investment that supports and encourages me as I face this challenge daily, that reminds me that I’m not alone on this mission, AND most importantly, one that provides water, hope and life to people who really need it.

People like this little dude from Kenya, who’s future’s so bright he needs shades. He stole my heart in 2015.

$50 provides one person with sustainable access to clean water. Invest your talents. Go for “well done.”



*** UPDATE 3/10/17 9:50am

I just got a call from Gateway Cycle. Someone called and purchased my saddle. I can go in anytime and get it put on. So I’m currently out in public with tears pouring down my face.

Thank you, whoever you are. That was incredibly, amazingly kind. This goes so far beyond improving my comfort while riding. This changes my heart. This is the kind of thing that inspires me to love more and love better. Thank you SO MUCH.

Just so blown away. I didn’t see that coming.

*** UPDATE 3/10/17 2:42pm

All done. My sit bones are SO THANKFUL.


I wanna quit

I wanna quit!

It’s a thought that comes into my mind usually several times during a workout. And often several times a week during the mundane, everyday challenges of life. I’ve thought it a lot lately about a lot of different things.

I thought it again this morning as I ran the trail between Huntington beach and the Pacific Coast Highway. I was only out for 45 mins, but it came once around mile 2, and again and again every quarter mile after.

Until I heard a small, familiar voice. It’s the voice I’ve been waiting for and longing to hear. It said Love perseveres. It never gives up. It endures every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7. It’s not just a reading for weddings.

It’s a verse that defines, in case you were ever wondered, how love behaves. How to love your neighbor. How to love your enemy. How to love the poor. How to love yourself.

It also describes how you are loved by Love himself. It points to the everlasting, faithful, and sustaining love of God.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

I needed that hope-filled encouragement today. Maybe you do too.

Keep your ears and eyes open. God is still speaking to us.